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Two soldiers, five rebels killed in fresh fighting in southern Philippines


09:17, July 14, 2013

COTABATO, Philippines, July 13 (Xinhua) -- At least two soldiers and five Muslim rebels were killed in fresh fighting Saturday in the restive southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, a military official said.

Around 20 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement ( BIFM), a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) , attacked government forces around 9:15 a.m. along the highway in the village of Kateman, Guindulungan town, said Dickson Hermoso, regional military spokesman.

Hermoso said the soldiers were on board a military truck when they were ambushed, sparking a 15-minute gunbattle that left five rebels and two soldiers dead.

"There's an ongoing pursuit operation against the rebels in the area," he said, adding four other soldiers were wounded.

Earlier this month, five soldiers and more than 80 BIFM rebels were killed in a series of clashes in Maguindanao.

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